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Senior Couple Arguing About Divorce at Home

Can One Spouse Refuse to Agree to the Divorce? 

Jeffers Law Office Oct. 26, 2022

When seeking a divorce in Kansas, the requesting spouse will prepare and file a Petition for Divorce at the court. Next, they must serve a copy of the divorce petition and summons to their estranged partner (respondent). In some situations, the respondent may resist the divorce by refusing to sign the divorce papers. A Kansas family law attorney can provide advice to you about what to do when your estranged spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers. 

Jeffers Law Office intends to give reliable advocacy and knowledgeable legal guidance to clients in family law and divorce-related matters. Attorney Mark Jeffers is open to discuss your specific situation, examine your available legal options, and inform you about the necessary steps to take if your spouse is resisting divorce. The firm is proud to serve clients across Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe, Leawood, Lenexa, and Prairie Village, as well as throughout Johnson County, Kansas. 

Grounds for Divorce in Kansas   

Kansas allows both “fault” and “no-fault” divorce. However, when filing the divorce petition, the spouse seeking a divorce (petitioner) must state the ground (reason) for the marital dissolution. Under Kansas divorce law – Kansas Statute Section 23-2701 – a divorce order shall be granted on any of these grounds: 

  • Incompatibility ("no-fault" grounds) 

  • Incompatibility due to mental illness or mental incapacity of any of the spouses (fault ground). 

  • Failure to perform a material marital obligation or duty (fault ground). 

Upon filing the Petition for Divorce, the petitioner must also serve a copy of the divorce petition and summons to the other party (respondent). Once received, the respondent will have up to 21 days to respond to the divorce petition. This may be done by filing an answer, a counterclaim, or both. 

In the event that your spouse refuses to respond or sign the divorce petition, you will have to set a date for a court hearing where the judge can enter a default divorce judgment. An experienced Kansas divorce attorney can enlighten you about the next steps to take when your spouse refuses to sign the initial divorce petition. 

What to Do If Your Spouse Refuses to Sign the Initial Petition 

However, it is still possible to get a divorce in Kansas if the other party is resisting. If your estranged spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition or file an answer in time, here’s what to do: 

  • Complete and submit the divorce forms and other supporting documentation. 

  • Legally serve the divorce petition to your spouse. 

  • Serve the divorce petition and summons through the court system. 

  • If they fail to respond to the petition, they could face possible penalties. 

  • Draft a proposed divorce judgment, but ensure that it is fair. Let your attorney help review the documents. 

  • File a request with the Kansas court to enter a default divorce. 

  • The court will hold a hearing if they still don’t respond. A notice will be sent to your estranged spouse. 

  • During the hearing, the judge will review the documents and paperwork you filed. The judge may also ask you a couple of questions. 

  • If the judge is satisfied, they will issue a Decree of Divorce. This finalizes the divorce proceedings. 

A practiced attorney can help draft or review the proposed divorce judgment, represent you diligently during the hearing, and help you achieve the best available outcome in your divorce case.  

Know Your Legal Options  

Filing for divorce in Kansas usually involves a lot of complex processes. However, the marital dissolution proceedings can become more complicated and overwhelming when one spouse is resisting divorce. When this happens, getting clear guidance from a knowledgeable family law attorney is crucial to determine the best course of action. 

Attorney Mark Jeffers has the diligence and expertise to assist and guide clients in challenging divorce cases involving a resisting spouse. As your legal counsel, he can assess the surrounding circumstances of your divorce case and educate you about your possible legal options. Additionally, Attorney Mark Jeffers can help file the divorce petition/complaint, protect your legal rights, and represent you intelligently during the court hearing. 

Contact Jeffers Law Office today for a free initial telephone consultation. Attorney Mark Jeffers has the personalized legal counsel, assistance, and skilled advocacy you need to navigate crucial decisions in your divorce case. The firm is proud to serve clients across Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe, Leawood, Lenexa, and Prairie Village, as well as throughout Johnson County, Kansas.